Archive for January, 2013

Unexpected Christmas

Almost 48 hours after Reid was born, he was diagnosed with a few heart defects that had gone undetected throughout my pregnancy.  He had 2 coarctations of his aorta and 2 holes in his heart.  Without repeating myself, you can read about his diagnosis, our time in Charlotte at the Levine Children’s Hospital, his successful surgery, and his quick recovery at our CaringBridge site here.



As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t think I can adequately summarize those 2 weeks we spent in Charlotte: terrifying and dark but at the same time sweet and redemptive.  I think we’ll be processing this event for the rest of our lives.


But we are home now!  Ahh.  The return to normalcy: middle-of-the-night feedings, sweet cuddle sessions, endless diaper changes, getting peed on (that’s a new one for us, since this is our first boy) as well as dance parties, time-outs, and attention juggling with Zoe Kate.  Even though there’s a thicker level of chaos in our home, we welcome it.  Just last night, we were all on the couch watching a movie together.  All four of us.  Our family.  Finally together.  My heart felt full.

Happy New Year, everyone!  We are so thankful to the many of you who have loved us and cared for us throughout the past month – whether thru meals, calls, texts, prayers, etc.  More than any other time, we needed our community around us and you were there for us.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.



Baby Reid!!

Whenever I’ve been in my 9th month of pregnancy, I’ve been obnoxiously eager to have the baby.  I know I’m not alone in that feeling.  With Zoe Kate, I was induced 12 days after her due-date.  With Baby #2, we found ourselves STILL pregnant after the due-date, again.  I know being induced with pitocin is of the devil, but it seemed the lesser of two evils (the evilest thing being “very very very very pregnant”).  So on Sunday December 16, I went to the hospital to be induced (I also had “the crud” with a fever of 100 when we got there…not the best labor conditions).  I started being induced around 12 noon, started pushing around 5pm, and – after 2 hours of painful, painful pushing – my midwife and the on-call doc and I all decided it was time to choose a C-section: the baby was stuck 🙂  I did not want my labor to go this way.  But it had.  I had semi-accepted this because I was in soooo much pain and I knew there was no other way to meet my second child.  Excitement began to ensue!


The most important thing: I made it thru labor safely and our son Reid was born!!!!!!!!  I loved how Matt’s face lit-up as he came over to me to tell me that “we have a son!!”  We had thought it was a boy throughout the pregnancy (just a hunch), but we still didn’t have a name picked out (we had a list of names…we just hadn’t landed yet).  For some reason, I just looked at Matt at that moment and said, “do you want to name him ‘Reid’?!”  We both loved it.That next day, we brought Zoe Kate to the hospital to meet her baby brother.  To say that she is the jealous-type would be an understatement, but right from the beginning, she seemed to put “Baby Reid” in a different category.   She wasn’t jealous at all, really.  It’s like she knew what “family” was without being able to put words to it.  About 30 minutes into our time together, she wanted to hold him, and she soon gave him the first of her many kisses that she has for him.  Phew!  – so glad she loves him!IMG_6827

It’s difficult for me to write about his birth story in anything but a sober tone.  I will write more about why in the next post, but I’ll go ahead and say that his heart diagnosis and the subsequent hell we went thru has painted my memories of his birth and our hospital time a shade grey-er than what they really were in real-time.  Maybe that will change with time, but the fear is still so fresh with me, it’s difficult to separate the fear from the memories.  But – as you’ll read – the story has a happy ending!  So as much as the fear is real, the joy is even more real.  I love you, Reid, more that you’ll ever know – more than I ever thought I wanted to know 🙂  This world is rough, but we have a Great Shepard of the Sheep who has been with you and who will always be with you.


O Come, O Come Emmanuel…and Baby Howell #2

Even though our baby’s due date was mid-December, we just KNEW it would be born early (we’ve been wrong 100% of the time whenever we’ve predicted one of our babies being born early). So we spent November preparing for Baby Howell #2 and doing as much Christmas as we could (shipping presents, decorating our tree, baking cookies, etc). I’ve always been an LTP’er – Long Term Planner, as Matt (affectionately??) calls me, so this was not all that uncharacteristic of me.

ZK testing out the baby's a tutu

ZK testing out the baby’s carseat…in a tutu


ZK had a blast decorating Christmas cookies




Our neighbors have a choose’n cut Christmas tree lot, so we usually walk over there and pick out our family tree


We accidentally pulled a Griswold and picked a tree that was a “little full”. ZK looked like an elf next to it.


We’re eager to meet the next member of our family!